Here’s a story.
It happened around 1975. I think I mentioned it on this blog before. Maybe not.
I had a babysitter from about 1973-1977 (ish). She lived nearby. I will only mention she was White because this was the early to mid-70’s and I was not White. Her friends were white and her husband and sons moved to Alaska to work on an oil rig which sounded like a very White thing to me at the time. And still does.
One of the sons remained because he was in high school. This was the era of Shaun Cassidy when all wide-eyed pretty white boys were as hot as Dodge Chargers. His name was Greg and he had the longest, golden hair in the world. He was in high school. He had a Mexican girlfriend who was equally hot and equally featureless because she was a cheerleader. Anyways, I was under the care of my white babysitter and Greg brought his girlfriend home frequently. I didn’t have the slightest clue what they were up to. Really. I was maybe 9 or 10. I was the biggest nerd in the world. I read up about Nature all the time. I knew a lot about crap no one else cared about which is essentially the trademark of the nerd.
There I was, the youngest of the herd because the room was full of Greg and all his high school friends. It was an exotic and unfamiliar circle. If it wasn’t for Greg’s girlfriend, I would have felt more horribly out of place. But it was also great because I was exposed to that insulated and weird world of high school talk long before my time.
One afternoon, they were all over and sitting in the living room. It must have been summer vacation or maybe I was home from playing marbles after school. But there I sat listening to these teenagers talk shit while secretly lusting for each other. They began talking about bees and wasps. One of the pretty cheerleaders mentioned how she was scared of being attacked by bees. This might have been during one of those 1970’s scares about the dreaded “killer bees.” Anyways, in an attempt to redeem my insignificant presence, I launched into a factoid I’d learned during my readings that taught me that bees and wasps were attracted to bright orange and yellow colors. I told her she had nothing to worry about. She should avoid wearing those colors, I advised. No one spoke. They sat and listened. I explained earnestly how to avoid being stung. They listened quietly. When I was done speaking, they continued holding their breaths, for they didn’t know what to say, but then, seamlessly, they launched back into their teenaged drivel once again and forgot about me. Truth was, no one gave a shit about bees.
It was the first of many blank looks in this life.
I’m used to bemused silences now. I always say stuff that no one relates to. Yawns and blank stares are my world.
I grudgingly accept them.
Maybe this is why I fucking blog.